The Squire

June 2018


Taylor P. Wrye - Principal

Amy Gallagher - Lead Teacher

Up Coming Events


1 - Grade 7 Field Trip to the Mark Twain House

1 - 8th Grade Dance

4 - Climate Survey Open

4 to 8 - Book Fair in WMS Library

8 - 8th Grade Field Trip

8 - Incoming 5th Grade Step Up Day (PM)

12- BOE Meeting

15- Field Day - All Grades

18 - Field Day Rain Date

19 - Goodspeed Opera House Field Trip - Grades 7 & 8

21 - 12:15 pm Dismissal - 8th Grade ONLY

22 - 12:15 pm Dismissal - All Grades

25 - 12:15 pm Dismissal - All Grades

26 - 8th Grade Promotion at 8:30 am @ WHS (Parents / Guardians invited to attend)

26 - Last Day of School - 12:15 Dismissal


20 - Moving Up Monday - 10 am to 11 am for incoming 5th-grade students

29 - First Day of School!!!!

** Remember to check the school calendar on our website for the most up to date information on school events **

Principal's Desk

There are only a few weeks left before summer vacation and there is so much happening at the middle school! As you know we just completed our SBAC testing and are beginning the exciting stretch of many end of the year events and activities. This year we are excited to announce the first annual WMS field day on June 15th! Thanks to Mr. Marshall, Mr. Gombos, and all of the teachers at WMS for setting up this wonderful day for our students. A few days before field day, students will receive a WMS Field Day tee-shirt that designates each grade level by color. Please encourage your children to wear their shirts on June 15th. More information will be sent home in the coming weeks.

Looking ahead to next year at Westbrook Middle School, we are loading student information preparing for a summer of scheduling and course building. Westbrook Middle School will be one of the very first middle schools in Connecticut to offer a Computer Science curriculum for all of our students in grades 5 to 8. Computer Science promotes critical thinking and problem solving skills. This curriculum will prepare our students for future careers by exposing them to Computer Science at a young age. Hartford, CT is the 4th largest market for employees with Computer Science skills with a growth rate of 12% a year.

In the 2018-2019 school year, Westbrook Middle School will also formally become a one to one school with every student having their own Chromebook to use at school and at home. As a Google Apps for Education (GAFE) district, Chromebooks work seamlessly with our G suite programs. The district will provide students with this technology during the first few weeks of school. More information will be distributed to students and parents at the start of next school year.

As we wrap up a great school year, I reflect on what we have accomplished and what is set to come. I am proud of Westbrook Middle School and how well we are doing. Our students have access to more extracurriculars than ever before, we are providing our students with top tier academic experiences, and building a strong restorative culture. We have so much to look forward to and I can’t wait to see everyone on August 29th for the first day of school!

Student Shout Outs!

Last week, WMS students on the U10 Girls, U12 Boys, U14 Girls and U14 Boys all won their divisions at a soccer tournament. Great Job!
On Friday, April 6th, Central Connecticut State University hosted 100 students from Connecticut schools to compete in the state round of the National Geography Bee. Westbrook Middle School was proud to send seventh grade, Kyle Malazzi, to represent us. While Kyle did not qualify for the final round, he demonstrated his vast knowledge of geography, which is extremely impressive. The entire WMS community is proud of you, Kyle!
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Summer Reading

Summer Reading Reimagined: Choice, Volume, & Access

When it comes to summer reading, research tells us that three things really matter above all else:

  1. Choice— Students should have the power to choose the books they want to read;

  2. Volume—Research tells us students should read at least 4-5 books over the summer to avoid the dreaded summer slide;

  3. Access to Books— Students need access to great books.

Students can see Mrs. Goad to sign up for a Westbrook Public Library card. We will have the card delivered to your student at school. The public library stocks up on the hottest middle school and young adult reads and keeps multiple copies of the Nutmeg Book Award nominees. The PTO will also be hosting a Buy One Get One FREE Scholastic book fair the week of June 4th. This is a fabulous opportunity to let your child pick out the books they want to read. Please reach out to your child’s English teacher if your child will need help getting books to bring home for the summer. We will do whatever we can to make sure your child has access to enough books that they want to read.

We have revamped and streamlined our summer reading assignments for all grade levels this year. You will notice that the assignments are no longer focused on projects; our main goal is to get kids reading as much as possible, and we do not a project to slow kids down. Here are some ways you can set your child up for success this summer:

  • Going on a road trip? Consider downloading an audio book or checking one out from the public library.

  • Make sure your child has access to books they want to read. Make a trip to the library or a book store and let your student pick books they are excited about. Reach out to your child’s English teacher if you need help getting books in your home this summer.

  • Make reading a habit. We don’t let our children avoid brushing their teeth because they don't want to do it. Regular independent reading should not be optional.

  • Encourage your student to always have a book available for “reading emergencies.” Rather than staring at a cell phone screen while you are waiting at the doctor’s office or waiting for an oil change, have a book handy.

English teachers will be sending home resources to help students choose books they will enjoy. Please do not hesitate to reach out if your student needs help finding books they will want to read this summer.

School Climate and Teen Leadership

This semester and over the past three weeks in particular, High School sophomores and seniors who have been trained in the School Climate culture presented a series of three workshops on Social Emotional Learning (SEL) to seventh and eight graders. The first group meeting had a different focus for males and females: The girls focused on "How Social Media Places Limitations and Expectations on Females" while the boys focused on "How Pressures in Society Suppress Males to Share and Show Their Emotions."

Video clips along with interactive activities took place, and this was followed by a second presentation with goals on skills to "Have a Voice" - "The 3D's of Being an Upstander" - Direct, Delegate or Distance where all students participated in small groups sharing skits that related to real-life scenarios. This particular lesson was viewed at Southern Connecticut State University and the high school team adapted it to the middle school level. The final presentation focused on "Self-Concept and Self-Confidence" as seen through the eyes of an adolescent in their everyday lives. Particular focus during this session was placed on how Self Concept can be formed through "Social Comparisons" which is very natural for adolescents in today's society.

These presentations are becoming part of a Social Emotional Learning Curriculum in which the high school students recently received a $5,000 grant from the Connecticut Association of Schools to bring these unique SEL activities to other schools in Connecticut. Next year it is anticipated that the WHS School Climate Team will also be working with our eighth graders to begin developing SEL activities on their own in school groups. The high school students as well as those in the middle school look forward to the future and working together as resources, something WHS values highly.



Computer Science

​5th graders have been busy learning how to navigate different computer systems and software, and have even dipped their toes into computational thinking with some live action coding practice. We'll be busy during the next month working on putting our skills into practice with some new software and continuing to enhance our keyboarding skills. The Digital Media students are ramping up to the big 8th grade promotion ceremony - finalizing their presentation and creating the final product. Design skills, editing, organization, and time management are the skills they will be using. Ms. Runkle has also been busy starting to shape the curriculum for next year when all 4 middle school grades will have Computer Science courses.
WMS - What's Your 17

Family and Consumer Sciences

Students in Family and Consumer Science have completed units on personal finance, babysitting and sewing. Enrolled sixth graders recently created pillows while the seventh grade students created drawstring bags. The eighth grade students used their sewing skills to make zippered pencil cases. Family and Consumer Science is currently studying foods in all classes. Students will explore safety and sanitation as they prepare a variety of foods in the labs.

Visual Arts

Artist Henry Matisse once said, “Creativity takes courage” and we have done just that…

March and April have been productive and exciting in the Arts. Grade 5 created aquariums as in introduction to one-point perspective. Their bold colors and creativity shined in their ocean life, species and vegetation. 5th grade also learned about negative and positive space with sharp contrast drawings. Additionally, they made clay lanterns and learned the geological components of clay. Lastly, students made origami bookmarks and learned how this art form affected the Japanese and Chinese cultures.

6th grade was introduced to Austrian artist and architect Henry Hundertwasser. Hundertwasser stood out as an opponent of "a straight line" and any standardization, expressing this concept in the field of building design. His best known work is the Hundertwasserhaus in Austria, which is characterized by imaginative vitality and uniqueness. Following this project, students constructed a medieval clay castle and learned about the legion of King Arthur. Grade 6 is currently drawing desert landscapes which include animals that live in the desert terrains of the U.S.

Grade 7 built clay fish using the hand building method. The fish were constructed from a sphere, while the fish tails, fins and eyes were made with slabs. Next, students took a “play” on paper when they drew animals that appear to be weaving in and out. This project was called Intertwining Animals. 7th grade is now working on Pointillism pictures, a project inspired by French Impressionist artist George Seurat. Seurat painted pieces comprised entirely of small dots, precisely what students have to do.

Grade 8 painted Aboriginal dot pictures and learned about the indigenous tribes of Australia, their culture and art. These paintings were also made up of dots and bright colors. Students depicted either the landscapes or animals of Australia in their pieces. 8th grade then experimented with wire and began their Wassily Kandinsky renditions. Kandinsky was a friend of Jackson Pollock’s who believed shape and colors better represented expression. These pictures came out amazing and students should be very proud.

Great job everyone!

-Mrs. Cole

Physical Education

In physical education, we are finishing the year with softball and kickball. Students are encouraged to bring water bottles as it gets hot out. We are bringing back field day as well so we are excited to enjoy this fun day on the 15th of June.

Our 5th grade students are learning how to use an AED and do hands-only CPR

Music Corner

On 5/22 and 5/24, fifth through eighth graders had very successful music concerts. Congratulations to all of the student musicians for demonstrating their hard work, skill, technique and musicianship at the concerts. Special recognition was given to 4 eighth grade students for winning the middle school Spirit Awards sponsored by the Music Boosters organization. Spirit Award winners demonstrate exceptional musicianship, effort and positive attitude in music. The middle school music directors were proud to give the Spirit Awards to:

Henry Anderson - Band

Gabriella Koplas - Chorus

Sumara St. Onge - Chorus

Alexandra Zanzalari - Band

On 6/19, we are excited to take over one hundred 7th and 8th grade students to the Goodspeed Opera House in East Haddam, CT. Students will see the Tony Award Winning Will Rogers Follies. Students going on the field trip will leave school about 9:30 AM, enjoy an informational session and tour of the Goodspeed at 10:30 AM, eat a bag lunch at Eagle Landing at 12:30 PM, and watch the matinee performance at 2 PM. Students should be back to WMS about 5 PM. This is our second year in a row going to the Goodspeed, and we are looking forward to another top-notch performance by their outstanding cast and crew.

The music department leaves you with a music video that was conceived and performed by the 5th Grade Choir. Here is their original song and video called, “Moon Tune”.


5th Grade Spanish with Sra. Ferro

Students are working on a variety projects to help reinforce vocabulary. Students helped in the decision making for project ideas.

So far, they have studied food, animals, and greetings. Students are currently working on school subjects and will be working on end of the year skits.

6th Grade Spanish with Sra. Ferro

Students are currently working on a project that reviews ~AR verbs in the present tense. They will soon be starting their skits where they will need to incorporate ~AR verbs and any relevant vocabulary learned this year.

7th Grade Spanish with Sra. Ferro

Students are currently learning how to express future actions using ir + a + infinitive. They will then be learning about some more stem changing verbs and food vocabulary. They will start their restaurant skit projects soon and present for the class before reviewing for their final exams.

8th Grade Spanish with Sra. Ferro

Students are studying the present progressive tense. They are working on projects that will demonstrate how well they can express actions that are currently happening using this tense. We then will review for final exams. The final exam will be on June, 11.


Grade 5 - Students will be reviewing all the materials learned this semester and work on a French culture slideshow project. They will also use what they have learned from making their slideshow to make something like French food, a diorama, a model, a timeline, etc.

Grade 6 - Students will make a story book in which they will use the structures and vocabulary learned in class.

Grade 7 - Students will be learning about the family and how to talk about theirs. They will also work on a video project, which will be their final project. They will have to teach a topic learned in class in a creative and fun format.

Grade 8 - Students will review for their final exam.

Technology Education

Technology students in sixth grade are designing water powered soda bottle rockets.

….and special projects from the heart!

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Technology students in the seventh grade are currently fabricating Co2 powered dragster cars.
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Technology students in eighth grade are sanding, installing pegs and applying finish coats of polyurethane to their wood projects.

Picnic Table Restoration

Technology students are restoring two picnic tables at Westbrook Middle School, that have been in use for more than ten years.

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Scientist Collect Micrometeorites

An estimated 300 tons of material from space falls on Earth each day! Much of this is micrometeorites – tiny dust size meteorites. Meteorites have a high iron content, so students used magnets to collect samples from our Middle School parking lot. Imagine, the building blocks of the solar system on our school grounds? After collecting space rocks and interstellar metal, students observed these cosmic visitors under the microscope. They noticed different types of rock forged together with iron. Cool!!!
Moon Tune
Students in Mr. Pennella's Science class created the lyrics to Moon Tune while Mr. Tallmage's 5th-grade chorus performed the song!


In Language Arts, we have just launched our Book Clubs! The theme of each novel is empathy. Students heard book talks on the six book options and viewed the book trailer before ranking each. After developing and signing the Book Club Contract, students in each club filled out a schedule with how much reading will occur during class and for homework. Students mostly read independently in class and meet as a “club” weekly to collaborate on their reading. I am impressed with the commitment the students are making to their book and club! Later in June, students will write a letter to their future selves, to be opened the end of their 8th grade year. Additionally, we will end the year responding to letters the current 4th grade students send our 5th grade students. This activity is always a highlight of the year!


In May of 2018 Grade 5 Mathematicians continue to evaluate expressions and solve equations applying their skills of addition, subtraction, multiplication and division of whole number, fraction and decimal operations. Students share their solutions using concrete models, drawings, algorithms and their understanding of place value and number patterns. In addition, students also explore patterns and sequences by building cube sequences so they can determine and graph the corresponding set of ordered pairs and then compare the points plotted. By the end of May, students interpret data, locate points on a coordinate plane, identify the x and y coordinates of a given point and graph points in the first quadrant of the coordinate plane as an ordered pair.

Throughout the month of June grade 5 math students will be engaged in geometry and continue to discover how to classify polygons. Students will classify triangles and quadrilaterals based on their properties and demonstrate an understanding that there is a hierarchy based on properties of two-dimensional shapes. In the final weeks of June students will revisit decimal operations and be able to apply their understanding of multiplication and division with the Powers of Ten.


On April 23rd, the sixth grade students observed Earth Day. They have been studying the Earth and our water system in science, along with Mount Everest in both social studies and language arts. They spent part of the morning cleaning up the school grounds in order to preserve our land for years to come.

ELA & Social Studies

In language arts and social studies students are learning about Mount Everest. Working in conjunction with each other, Mr. Garrity and Ms. Wengefeld have created an exciting unit based around the history and personal experiences on the tallest mountain in the world/ In ELA students are reading My Everest Story, which recounts the 1996 disaster where 8 people were killed in one night due to a severe and sudden storm. In social studies students are learning about the history of the mountain as well as the specific details of climbing this very difficult peak. Also, how Everest has impacted the Sherpa people negatively and positively since westerners have started climbing it. Students also created posters which depicted the 7 Summits, which are the tallest mountain on each of the seven continents. Many people who attempt Mount Everest will first climb the tallest mountains on each continent and leave Everest For last.



In early May students completed a poetry unit which included the study of famous poets such as Edgar Allan Poe and the analysis of poems such as “The Raven.” Students also wrote their own poetry with a heavy focus on imagery and figurative language for the culminating performance task. Students are currently using varied non-fiction reading strategies as they read the biography Harriet Beecher Stowe and the Beecher Preachers by Jean Fritz in anticipation of our upcoming field trip to the Mark Twain and Harriet Beecher Stowe Houses in Hartford, CT, on June 1st. Following the field trip, students will read chapter excerpts from Twain’s The Adventures of Tom Sawyer. We will finish the year with a Revision Performance Task, with a revisit to our earlier narrative and argumentative writing units.


We were working at Haddam Meadows State Park along the CT River. Students donned hip waders and used a seine net to collect fish and invertebrates. Some of the fish we caught included yellow perch, bowfin, emerald shiners, killifish, eels, sticklebacks, and tesselated darters. Students conducted water quality tests such as oxygen, density, pH, temperature and carbon dioxide. They learned from these tests and the diversity and numbers of animals caught that this shoreline ecosystem is a healthy habitat.
students learning about the cardiovascular system - (1) pathway of blood through the heart and (2) checking resting pulse rate and exercise rate.


The last topic in the seventh grade curriculum is data analysis. The students will analyze data sets and make conclusions. Is the data misleading, or does it accurately reflect the population? What is the margin of error? The students will use this knowledge to investigate real-world applications.

Social Studies

Students have been analyzing a variety of historical texts during Quarter 4. We studied Andrew Jackson’s presidency and students used their knowledge of poetry from Language Arts class to write historical poems answering the question, “Should Andrew Jackson remain on the $20 Bill?” Students then researched one of the six territories which the United States claimed between 1818 and 1853. Students presented these Manifest Destiny projects to their classmates, as well as had the opportunity to read their Andrew Jackson poems. Recently, students completed seven stations on the causes of the Civil War, and we will end the year exploring the significant people, places, events, and effects of this important time in our nation’s history.
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Break Out & Escape:

8th Graders Use Logic, Perseverance, and Teamwork to Conquer Breakout Boxes and Escape Rooms

Eighth graders participate in two breakout box activities during the year. Ms. Goad and Mrs. Fredrickson break students into teams to solve challenging puzzles to help review material for The Outsiders unit and for our ELA final exam. Students must use teamwork, problem solving, and academic skills to unlock a series of boxes to “break out” of the library while the clock ticks down.

These breakout box challenges help to prepare students for our end of the year field trip to Mystified Escape Rooms in Mystic. Students will use these same skills to escape themed rooms in under an hour. After breaking out of the escape rooms, students will conquer a high ropes course at Fields of Fire Adventure Park and will enjoy a bonfire, pizza, and games.

Photos of 8th graders dressed up as Socs and greasers to break out of the library:

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Please Return Books!!

As the school year winds down, please check houses, cars, and book bags for books to return to the school. Our school and individual teachers invest hundreds of dollars each year to get great books into the hands of our students; please return library and classroom books to the school so future students can enjoy them as well. We also happily accept gently used middle school books that families would like to donate to our classroom libraries! We really appreciate your assistance in getting independent reading books back to the school!


Family and Consumer Sciences Club

The Family and Consumer Science club continues to honor students who have been recognized as a Student of the Month by hosting several breakfasts each year. The last breakfast will be on June 6th.

Math Olympiads

Math Olympiads is an internationally known program in which students worldwide compete in five math contests throughout the school year. Each contest consists of five challenging questions that encourage problem solving and creativity. We had a wonderful first year competing in Math Olympiads at Westbrook Middle School. Seven 5th grade students participated in the Math Olympiad program. Jack Ouellette won the Highest Individual Score trophy for our team.

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